“I hate spinach sandwiches,” says Todd, 7.
Although I admit the thought of a spinach sandwich is revolting, Todd, I’m afraid you misunderstood my question. I didn’t ask for your favorite complaint, but why complaining is a sin.
“If you complain, you might have to clean up more,” says Lane, 7. I assume you mean your room, which is always a challenge even for many adults.
“You will get into trouble because you will be fighting with your mom and dad,” says Brandon, 6. “Then they will punish you. They are in charge of you, and they can do whatever they want.”
Complaining is not the way to win friends and influence parents.
Lauren, 7, thinks the root of most complaining is jealousy: “Jealousy is a sin because you want something that someone has.”
Of jealousy, Erica Jong wrote, “Jealousy is all the fun you think they had.”
The biblical perspective is so different from our natural inclinations. Contentment in the Lord is a great gift, but the Bible goes further. Christians should rejoice with those who rejoice. Instead of having sour grapes over the success of a brother or a sister in Christ, we should be jumping for joy.
Why is this so seldom the case? The lone-ranger mentality needs to be replaced with a team or a corporate mentality. Every Christian is part of a spiritual body of believers that transcends economic, cultural, racial, national and time barriers. In the Bible, this joining together is so tight it’s called the body of Christ of which the Lord is the head (I Corinthians 12:27).
When you’re tempted to complain, think of a cake, says Sarah, 10: “God put us in particular circumstances for a reason. Everything God does is for a reason. A lot of bad things can come together to make one big, good thing. Like when you make a cake, everything you put in it is not always going to be good by itself.”
I’ve noticed that a universal ingredient for cakes is a raw egg. Unless you’re a serious body builder, a raw egg is not edible by itself. If you complain about your circumstances, you might miss out on that delicious cake God is trying to make from the raw eggs of your life.
“It’s right there in one verse of the Bible,” says Austin, 10. “It’s not right to complain about your condition because God is the one who decided to put you in that condition, and he probably has a plan for it.”
That certainly was the case with the Israelites whom God delivered from slavery in Egypt. God planned to bring his people through the wilderness into a land flowing with milk and honey. But they angered God by complaining.
Even though they had seen God part the Red Sea miraculously and destroy Egypt’s elite troops, they quickly forgot God’s just-in-time deliverance. God has been in the just-in-time business long before corporate executives conceived of minimizing their inventories with timely deliveries just before products are assembled.
Because of their complaining and disbelief, the Red Sea generation wandered in the desert for 40 years until they all died. They missed out on the wonderful things God had in store for them. The notable exceptions were Joshua and Caleb who brought back a positive report of the land God had promised.
“Complaining about your circumstances is a sin because you don’t give God a chance,” says Fran, 8.
Think about this: There are giants to conquer in the land of God’s abundance. One of the biggest giants is complaining about circumstances.
Memorize this truth: “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless children of God” (Philippians 2:14-15).
Ask this question: Will you give God an opportunity to work on your behalf by trusting him, or miss out on his provision by complaining?
Kids Talk About God is designed for families to study the Bible together. Research shows that parents who study the Bible with their children give their character, faith and spiritual life a powerful boost. To receive Kids Talk About God three times a week in a free, email subscription, visit www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org/email.